Fibre cement is an abbreviation for Fibre Reinforced Cement (FRC), and fibre cement building materials were developed by James Hardie in the early 1980s, as a replacement for asbestos-based building products. Fibre cement is a composite material that is made up of sand, cement and cellulose fibres. Fibre cement cladding comes in various forms but it is most commonly seen in sheet form, and in horizontal boards. It can be used to cover the exterior of a house and also as a substitute for timber fascias and barge boards in areas that are subject to high fire danger. As well as cladding, fibre cement is also commonly used as a tile underlay on decks and in bathrooms and also for soffit/eave linings.
Fibre cement boards come between 2400-3000mm in length and 900-1200mm in width. This manufactured size minimizes on-site wastage as residential floor, wall and roof structures lay structural members at 450 or 600 centres.The thickness of fibre cement ranges from 4.5-18mm. Lower density boards have a fibrous rough edge when cut, while the higher density boards have a cleaner, smoother edge when cut.
Thermal resistance and sound transmission varies between the different types of fibre cement products but, generally speaking, they rate poorly in these two areas and separate insulation is highly recommended. However, the thicker and denser the fibre cement board, the better thermal and sound resistance it will have.
Fibre cement is one of the most energy efficient materials on the market. It is environmentally friendly as fibre cement requires less energy in assembly and construction than all other wall materials except timber. There is low energy consumption in transportation and installation. No pesticides are used in the manufacture or use of fibre cement. When fibre cement is manufactured, the water used in production is recycled many times, solid wastes are recycled, and sustainable raw materials are used.
Fibre cement cladding is a very heavy product and requires two people to carry the uncut sheets. Thin fibre cement cladding is fragile before installation and must be handled carefully; it is prone to chipping and breakage if improperly handled.
More resistant to fire damage: Fiber Cement sheet cladding – is not only used as an exterior siding, it can also be utilized as a substitute for timber fascias and barge boards in high fire areas.
Very low maintenance:The external cladding products require very little maintenance once installed and painted. The thicker/denser fiber cement products have excellent impact resistance but the thinner less dense products need to be protected from impact.
Less susceptible to termites & fungal decay: Compared to wooden siding, fiber cement is not susceptible to termites or rot.
- not affected by the sun or cold weather as much as other materials are
- resistant to warping
- resistant to permanent water damage
- easy to work with